Security agencies have deployed hi-tech drone cameras to monitor the entire route of the annual Amarnath yatra as security forces have been deployed at all sensitive places, especially on the highways. The government fears that the yatra may be attacked by militants this year. The yatra began on Saturday and will culminate on 16 August.
The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) is expecting lakhs of devotees and has put in place all measures for the smooth conduct of the yatra. Last year, over 3.5 lakh devotees visited the shrine.
Even after Hizbul Mujhadeen’s young commander Burhan Wani has in a video said that the militant outfit has no plans to attack Amarnath pilgrims, the government has taken several steps to enhance security of the devotees, especially after the Pampore attack in which eight CRPF personnel were killed on the spot and dozens were injured.
Drone cameras will send pictures round-the-clock to the control rooms from the entire route of the yatra. A four-ring security cover has been provided to the pilgrims this year to ensure their safety, a government spokesman said, adding that from Lakhanpur onwards, devotees would be protected by CRPF, J&K Police and other paramilitary forces on both the routes of Pahalgam and Baltal. The Army has been also deployed along with the BSF at many high altitude areas of the yatra from both the routes, in order to ensure that militants do not attack in the forest areas along the routes. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also held a meeting about the security measures taken for the safe and smooth conduct of the yatra, as it has become a challenge after militants have attacked security convoys several times on highways in the recent past. After intelligence inputs that militants have plans to attack the yatra, the government is taking no chances and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has chaired several meetings for the security of the yatra.
On the request of the state government, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has dispatched more mobile bunkers, quick response teams and road opening parties so that militants don’t get a chance to attack the pilgrims, especially on the highways.